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The Ford F-150 with EcoBoost. (Ford Ford)
The Ford F-150 with EcoBoost. (Ford Ford)

Rob's Garage

Grilling Ford over the EcoBoost gap Add to ...


I purchased a new Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost engine but to allow for extra cooling to the inter-cooler, Ford had to relocate the front license plate to the driver’s side of the front bumper. In doing so, they left a gaping hole in the middle of the front bumper. If I install an aftermarket billet style grille into that hole will it affect my engine warranty?

I was hoping maybe with your connections you could press Ford for an answer and or if they are ready to produce for market a grille for this area.

The hole not only looks horrible – almost unfinished – but I worry also that a large object could enter the hole and collide with the inter cooler. No doubt Ford will say that is a road hazard and won’t repair the inter-cooler under warranty. I appear to be damned if I do, damned if I don’t.


I’m with you on this one Martin – I don’t like the gaping hole in the bumper, either. Some might be content to leave well enough alone, but you have a point with your concerns with debris entering this cooling hole. I can only imagine the cost of replacing the turbo inter-cooler if it gets hit by a stone. However, I have (somewhat) good news for you, Martin. I checked with Ford of Canada and although it doesn’t fully condone alterations of its vehicles, it does understand your situation and has replied with helpful information:

“Ford has performed extensive testing on the F-150 and EcoBoost engine ( ford.com/trucks/f150/experiencef150), and a screen or grille in this location is not required or recommended. The opening is designed to allow airflow to the intercooler, restricting this airflow may adversely affect the performance of the truck. If the consumer does choose to add a screen (billet style or any other type) it will not void the warranty, unless the failure was determined to be the result of the grille addition.”

While Ford isn’t saying that it’s okay to install a grille in the bumper, it is saying that (with provision) the warranty will not be voided. That said, if anything were to go wrong with the inter-cooler system, you can expect an audit of the conditions and an inspection of your vehicle for interference of an aftermarket installation.

It’s important to consider ramifications to any alterations to the stock configuration of any vehicle. Understand that the manufacturers have spent extensive Research and Development resources at the engineering level to provide consumers with a safe over-the-road vehicle.

Martin, I recommend you click on the link provided by Ford to gain a deeper understanding of what exactly it puts a single engine through. After watching the video, you can understand from a performance perspective, why Ford is reluctant to put anything in the way of the inter-cooler. The choice is yours, but I would double-check with your dealer.

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